Fishing for Fluency

Growing Independence and Fluency


Kathleen Griffin

Rationale:  Fluency, which is being able to read quickly, at an even pace, and with fluctuation and expression, is an important skill for students to obtain.  If students are fluent readers, reading becomes more efficient and they can begin reading for understanding at a better pace.  In order for students to become fluent readers, they must read and re-read decodable books practice decoding and decoding at a quick speed.  This lesson calls for students to practice reading decodable books many times in order to be able to read them quickly and smoothly.  Students will read the books independently and then read to a peer.


Materials: Sentence strip with sentence The monkey was swinging through the trees; copies of Pig in a Bag (Geri Murray) for each student; stop watch for every group of students; paper and pencils for each group to record reading times; speed reading record sheets; speed reading chart (fisherman)



1.  Say:  Today, Boys and Girls, we are going to be practicing how to read fast but smooth at the same time!  Being able to do read quickly and smoothly is called fluency.  It is important that we learn to read quickly and with ease so that we can focus on understanding what we read rather than how to decode the words! 


2.  Say:  Now, I am going to show you how to read a sentence fluently.  Put a sentence strip on the board with The monkey was swinging through the trees, on it.  Say:  Listen to me as I say the sentence a loud and listen to how the sounds blend together so smoothly.  Thhheeee mmmooonnnkkeyyyy wwwaaasss sssswwwiiiiiinngggiiinnngg fffroooommm ttthheee trrrrreeeesssss.  I will then read the sentence faster than the time before and then repeat.  The last time, I will blend the words together and read the words at the same pace and smooth the words together in the sentence.  Say:  This is how we read fluently.  Do you see why it is important for us to read this way?  When we read like this, it is much easier to understand.  We are improving our reading by reading and rereading to make it more fluent.


3.  It is your turn to practice reading fluently now!  Everyone spread out around the room and I will give you a book to practice reading quickly and smoothly.  Please read it a few times because practicing reading the books multiple times is a great way to improve reading fluency.  The book we are reading is Pig in a Bag.  In the story, the boy gets a pig as a birthday present.  The pig causes some trouble and the dog and cat get in a fight with the pig.  The pig runs away and the boy is chasing after him.  Do you think he will ever catch him?  Let us read to find out!  Remember to put the words together smoothly in the sentence as you reread the book!


4.  Once you practiced reading your book, come back to the group and I will pair you with a partner to read together.  You are each going to read the book to your partner 3 times.  With the stopwatch I give you, you are going to time your partner for one minute while listening to them read.  At the end of that one minute, you will count how many words they read during that minute.  I will give you a check lists that has a space to write how many words they are reading one minute the first, second and third time.  After one partner has read 3 times, you will then switch and do the same thing!


5.  During the peer assessment, I will monitor the students working and try to ensure that all students are following directions and assessing each other correctly.


6.  After the students read to one another, I will call them up to my desk individually and explain to them what how many words they read per minute means and how it relates to fluency.  I will then have a chart with a fisherman reeling in a fish.  There will be increments of 5 starting at the bottom of the lake as 5 going up to the top of fishing pole to 85.  I will put the fish on the corresponding number of words they read per minute.  I will encourage the student to keep practicing by moving their fish up each time they increase their words read per minute.


Assessment:  I will assess their speed reading by keeping their times documented and watching their improvement on the charts.




Megan O'Brien.  Reading Genie Website.  Slide Your Way to Reading


Sarah Daughtry.  Reading Genie Website.  Speed Reading is Fun


Pig in a Bag.  Geri Murray

Speed Reading checklist:


Trial #

Words per Minute








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